Introduction: Puffy Paper Party Spheres

A while back I bought a set of three of these from the local party store for an office party. While setting them up I quickly realized that I had spent money on something I probably could have made myself. Folks snagged them before me, so I wasn’t able to grab one to take home to my daughter after the party. So, when her birthday came up a few months later and she wanted similar decorations, I thought I’d give it a whirl. She wanted a multi-colored theme, so it easily would have set me back over $20 just to have the four colors represented had I bought them in the store. It turned out well. We were able to customize the design colors and sizes and we ended up making so many, each party-goer got to take one, or two, home as favors. They are fairly easy to make, and once you get the hang of it, they take no time at all.

Step 1: Supplies

So here’s what you’ll need:

· Tissue paper (any size, any color, new or reused)

· Scissors or a rotary cutter (just something you can cut with)

· String, twine, fishing line or yarn (whatever you plan to hang the puff with)

· A ruler (in case you want to cut things down to size)

Step 2: Choosing

First you’ll need to decide what colors you want to use and the size of the puff you want to make. For this demonstration I’m making a white-pink-white design to make a smaller 10” puff. (The ready-made ones in the stores usually come in 16” and tissue paper usually comes in 20” x 20” squares)

I find that using four sheets of each color layer makes the best shape for me. You can always experiment and see what works best for you. So, if you’re making a big 20” puff you’ll need at least 12 sheets. Since I’m only making a smaller 10” puff, I need only three sheets, which I’ll cut into fours, making a total of 12. (It’s much easier to cut the sheets all at once, so I’ve stacked them here)

Step 3: Stacking

Once you have your 12 separate sheets, stack them in the way you want your sphere to look. Again, since I’m going for a tri-level white-pink-white puff, that’s how I have them stacked (4 sheets white, 4 sheets pink, and 4 sheets white, again). You can do whatever you like though...get crazy, mix it up, maybe even alternate them if you want and let me know how it turns out.

When you do finally have the sheets stacked, try to get the edges as lined up as possible. No two tissue papers are alike, so it’s next to impossible to get it perfect, but it helps to make a neater puff.

Step 4: Folding

Once you have your sheets lined up, make a fold about 1 inch thick. I find it helpful to make sure the creases are nice and sharp…again, it just makes for a neater puff, so not necessarily a must.

Then, make another 1 inch fold, but this time in the opposite direction so you’re folding the first fold underneath (I find it easiest to flip all the sheets completely over and then just fold the tissue paper the same as the first fold). So, like an accordion or the little fans you might have made in grade school.

Continue to alternate the folds until you reach the end. They may line up perfectly, the may not…again, not a necessity.

Step 5: Tying

Now, you should have a rectangular little accordion of tissue paper. You’ll want to secure this shape by tying the center with your string. It is important at this step to try and get it as centered as possible or you’ll end up with a lopsided sphere. Also, try not to squish the center because you’ll need them to fan out still. Just tie it tight enough to keep the stack close together, but not too tight that you crunch it.

Once that is done, I like to cut the end pieces off of the string and attach a longer piece of string that will be used for the actually hanging. I suppose you could do it all in one, but in case the string breaks or gets cut, I just want to be sure there’s still one securing the center.

Step 6: Cutting

You’ll want to grab your scissors again for this next part. You’ll snip two triangular pieces of each end of your rectangle to form points (or round it off, if you want a softer look…I’ve seen it both ways). I find the longer the points, the better. Try to get the sides to match, but again, just an aesthetic thing and not necessary.

Step 7: Fanning

Now you’ll want to open your little accordion up and fan out the folds so it looks like a little butterfly. I like to hold the butterfly shape by the center, where it is all tied together, so it looks more like a star.

Step 8: Fluffing

Make sure you keep track of where your string is so it doesn’t get lost in the layers as you go through this next step. Holding tightly to the center, you just separate each sheet by gently pulling them apart and upwards. If they rip a bit, it’s no big deal, it’ll still turn out. I find that it’s easiest to work in quadrants, so separate one side of the top half about half way down (so six sheets) and then the other side of the top. Once you do that, you should have what I always think looks like a lily pad flower.

You’ll then want to flip the flower over, and start separating the bottom half as you did the top. You’ll probably end up with a wonky looking sphere, but if you fluff the layers a little bit, you can get the shape you’re looking for.

Step 9: Final Product

See…not too bad, right?
You end up with a custom decoration that is pretty peppy and stunning. They are pretty resilient too. The other puffs in the pictures have been stored away, flattened, for over a year. I just needed to fluff them up a bit and they don’t look half bad.

Well, I hope you get some use out of this instructable and I’d love to see what creations you come up with.

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